by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous.... He openeth also their ear to discipline.... If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity.... But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword.... —Job 36:7a, 1Oa, 11a, 12a
So then let us not murmur any longer when we see God sending such troubles into the world, neither let us be offended as though he had his eyes shut. For he well knows what he is doing, and he has an infinite wisdom which is not immediately apparent to us.
In the end we shall see that he has disposed all things in good order and measure. Let us learn not to be too greatly grieved when we are so afflicted, assuring ourselves that God by that means is furthering our salvation.
Besides, do we wish to be healed when we are in torment and pain? Do we want these things to have a favorable outcome? Then let us follow the way that is showed to us here, namely to hear and obey. How shall we hear? By being taught when God sends us to school, so that our afflictions may be like so many lessons to make us flee to him.
Then let us hear these things, and let them not go in one ear and out the other. And let us obey, that is to say, let us yield to God the obedience that we owe him; and let us not seek anything else than to be conformed to him.
What follows? We must not marvel when men linger in pain and are daily plunged deeper and deeper into misery; for which of them listens to God when he speaks? It is apparent how many are afflicted and tormented, and it is evident that God's whips are occupied everywhere nowadays. But how few are there that reflect upon them!
You see a whole people oppressed with wars until they can endure no more; and yet we can hardly find a dozen men among a hundred thousand that hear God speak. Behold, the snapping of his whips do sound and echo in the air; there is horrible weeping and wailing everywhere; men cry out, "Alas, and woe is me!" And yet all the while they do not look at the hand that smites them.
So then is it any wonder that God sends incurable wounds and does what is said in the Prophet Isaiah; namely, that from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head there is not a drop of soundness in the people, but there is leprosy, so that they are all rotten and infected, and their sores are incurable?
Is this any wonder, seeing men are so thankless toward God that they shut him out of doors and will not listen to him, that they might obey him? —Sermons
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.